It's been a rough two years for Al Iaquinta, but this weekend marks his return to the UFC Octagon.
Despite being out of the thick of the action himself, Iaquinta has kept a keen eye on everything going on in the lightweight division. Ahead of his return fight against Diego Sanchez this week, Iaquinta spoke exclusively to Champions.co about who he thinks is the man setting the bar right now at 155-pounds.
"Man it's tough to say, but right now, I think Tony Ferguson is the guy," Iaquinta said. "Obviously Khabib [Nurmagomedov] was there, but I really think right now it's Tony Ferguson. I don't think there are many people that want to fight him. I don't know what the deal is with Khabib right now, but yeah it's gotta be Tony. I don't think it's changed all that much. Dos Anjos went up to 170, so yeah it's Tony right now."
One man Iaquinta failed to mention was the current UFC lightweight champion, Conor McGregor. When asked how a McGregor versus Ferguson fight would go, Iaquinta said he didn't think it would go well for the Irishman.
"Tony Ferguson is the man right now," Iaquinta said. "Ferguson is the guy. I know [Conor] McGregor has the title right now, but I think Ferguson is a bad night for him. Tony has a great chin and he will just walk through anything. I think if Tony gets it to the ground he's got all the chokes and stuff, so he's dangerous everywhere."
Iaquinta then said that the best fight that could possibly go down at 155-pounds would be the previously booked Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov fight. Like most UFC fans, Iaquinta is hoping that the fight is put together again later down the line.
"I'd love to see that Tony and Khabib fight," Iaquinta said. "I was looking forward to that fight so much. In like the last two years, that's the one fight I've been looking forward to most, but it's just never happened. When it didn't happen [at UFC 209], I was just really bummed, you know. It's a great style match-up. Who the hell knows what would happen. Tony is crazy on his feet, but even if Khabib gets him down, Tony has those crazy chokes. It would be fun to see if Tony's jiu-jitsu could stand up to Khabib's guard passing and smashing on the top. It would just be a fun fight to see, I hope it happens someday."
No doubt, Iaquinta will be looking to get himself back into title contention later this year. His first goal will be to see off the threat of Diego Sanchez when he makes his return in Nashville on Saturday night.